In 2011, the German design classic collector and dealer Torsten Bröhan sold his collection of design classics to the Chinese city of Hangzhou for several million euros. Chinese media reported on this.
We took the reported purchase price from ChinaDaily.com and HangZhou Weekly but were not able to check this information. Now a court has forbidden us from publishing this figure.
Why are we no longer permitted to cite the purchase price for Bröhan’s collection? Because, according to an angry letter from Bröhan’s lawyers, the sum is incorrect. The strange thing about this legally binding court judgment is that Torsten Bröhan did not even have to specify the correct sum, but simply stated that the actual amount differed by more than 10% from the amount cited, which Bröhan says is incorrect.
Why has Bröhan suddenly become so aggressive?
We have to wonder where this aggressive oversensitivity has suddenly come from, after the purchase price Bröhan is criticizing as incorrect had already been disseminated all around the world for years. Is there something in particular that Torsten Bröhan wants to hide?
From 2005 to 2011, Torsten Bröhan tried to sell his collection of design classics to museums and institutions all around the world, even hiring an agent – the German consultant Stephan Balzer – for this purpose. For a long time, his efforts were in vain. Until the Chinese Academy of Art (CAA) came and snapped up the opportunity. The city of Hangzhou paid the enormous bill.
PR wave for Hangzhou with the “Bauhaus collection”
In announcing the purchase of the Bröhan collection, the municipal government of Hangzhou set off a proud wave of PR. And the news of this fantastical purchase price, which Bröhan says is incorrect, spread around the world. Has Torsten Bröhan ever taken legal action against this before? We don’t know.
Four years later, everything is different: Bröhan is reacting angrily to our reports and having parts of them banned. What is the reason for this odd behavior?